Attendance Policy

Absenteeism and Marking Practices

If you are absent for illness or other excusable reasons, please follow the following procedures:
  • Have your parent call the school between 7:00 and 8:15 in the morning at 448-9604, OR
  • Bring in a note signed by your parent explaining the reason for your absence. Bring the note to the attendance office before homeroom.
  • If you are participating in a school related field trip or activity (college conference, guidance meeting etc.) it is your responsibility to notify classroom teachers by showing them a pass or alerting them to a field trip list.
  • In the case of absence, it is the responsibility of the student to arrange for make-up to be completed. Failure to do so will result in zeros for the missed work.
  • If you are absent, it is your responsibility to call a classmate to find out what happened in class and what home preparation you need to do to be ready for class when you return. Students are expected to participate in class on the day of their return, including taking tests or quizzes. Students should check teacher Web pages for homework assignments.
  • A doctor’s note may be required after five consecutive days of absence (see Attendance Policy).

Good attendance and active participation will raise your grade. For most students this is an opportunity to improve learning and grades.

Though homework and independent learning are important components of a high school education, participation in classroom activities is the basis for all course work. For this reason, though some absences may be excusable, no absence is truly acceptable. Students and their parents should make every effort to ensure that the student should be present in class except in the case of serious illness or family emergencies.

Students are expected to arrive on time to class each day with materials (text, paper, pen or pencil and homework). Homework is to be completed and turned in at the designated time. Tardiness in turning in homework will cause loss of some or all credit.

It is the responsibility of a student to be prepared for class when he or she returns from an absence. To facilitate this, each student should have the telephone number of a classmate in each class who can reliably be called for information on what transpired in class and what homework was assigned.

Students will be given a weekly grade for class participation. The average of these grades will count a minimum of 20% of the grade for the marking period. Individual teachers and departments will expand upon and clarify the general description of grading procedures listed below.


Attendance

The Taconic High School attendance policy has been revised and approved by the Pittsfield School Committee. This change came about through analysis of attendance data, research, and feedback from study groups and school councils. Outlined below is the revised attendance policy.

Philosophy

It is the belief of the Pittsfield Public School System that one of the most significant factors affecting school success is regular attendance. Time in class is essential to the growth and development of each student and time lost will limit the opportunity for uniform instructional interaction and support.

School attendance is both a right and responsibility in the state of Massachusetts. Children have the right to attend school between the ages of five and twenty-one. Mandatory attendance applies to children between the ages of six and sixteen. Parents are ultimately responsible to ensure that their children attend school on a regular basis.

Research indicates that poor school attendance is directly linked to a decline in academic achievement. This absenteeism results in lost productivity for teachers, students and the class as a whole. This policy is guided by a desire to:

  • Provide strong incentives to attend school regularly
  • Encourage the make-up of missed work as a result of an absence
  • Avoid punitive measures as a reaction to excessive absenteeism
  • Create a policy that is enforceable and manageable for school staff
  • Meet federal and state requirements for attendance

Objectives

By improving attendance and encouraging punctuality, Pittsfield Public Schools hopes to achieve the following:

  • Improve scholastic performance by facilitating makeup of excessive missed work
  • Create and maintain a positive school culture
  • Place responsibility for attendance and punctuality on the students and/or their parents
  • Develop habits in students that are beneficial skills for both post-secondary educational experiences and future employment
  • Track school attendance patterns in order to support all children in the City of Pittsfield through attendance improvement programs and services

Class Attendance Grade Policy

The class grade attendance policy will be communicated regularly through report cards, progress reports, letters home, phone calls, and conferences.

Students who exceed 3 absences in a quarter (but not more than six), 6 in a semester (but not more than 10) or 12 in a year (but not more than 20) will be encouraged to participate in Attendance School. As described, Attendance School provides an opportunity for students to avoid NC (no credit) designation for a quarter, semester or year.

There shall be no differentiation between excused and unexcused absence in the Pittsfield Public School system. All absences will be counted towards the quarterly and yearly totals. In the event of multiple days’ absence due to medical illness, religious holiday, or bereavement, parents/guardians are encouraged to submit documentation to be reviewed by school administration within three days of the incident to be reviewed. These days may be classified as one incident (or one day) to be counted against the 3 in a quarter and 12 in a year standard, and as such could be made up in one 30 minute Attendance School session per class. In these cases it is assumed that much of the missed work would have been done during the extended absence. School based activities and field trips will be designated as field trips in Powerschool and, as such, will not count as absences. In addition, an attendance review team (outlined below) shall be convened for the purposes of hearing appeals for students who fail to judiciously use the Attendance School to avoid loss of credit. The decisions of this team, in turn, may be reviewed, upon appeal, by the building principal.

All work missed as a result of an absence must be completed. Students who are absent on a day on which an assignment is due and/or a test/quiz is administered will be required to submit the assignment and/or complete the test/quiz on the day of their return. Students absent more than one day must make a specific plan with the instructor(s) and will have one week, or as directed by the instructor, to submit missed class work.

At the high school level, a student who is in the Pittsfield Public School system can not be absent for more than 3 class periods each marking quarter or he/she will lose credit for the quarter and receive a grade of NC (No Credit) if the student otherwise earned a passing grade. If the student has not earned a passing grade he/she will receive an “F”.

Students who exceed 12 absences in any year-long class or 6 absences in any half-year class will automatically lose credit for the class. Students who receive a grade of NC in one or more grading quarters but do not exceed 12 absences for the year (or 6 for the semester if grading is based on semester courses) will have the NC converted to the grade the student would have otherwise received.

Tardiness

Consistent with the high schools’ Positive Behavior Supports initiatives, students are encouraged to be Punctual and Prepared. Similarly, they should expect to be held accountable for any deviation from school expectations. Tardiness to class not only limits the amount of time that an individual student can be engaged and on-task, it is also disruptive to the class as a whole. The warning bell at THS rings at 7:20 a.m. and homeroom begins at 7:25 a.m. Please review the bell schedule on the last page. Tardiness to class will be handled as outlined below.

The teacher will assign students who are tardy to class instructional consequences. Students who fail to comply with teacher consequences will be referred to the Student Personnel Office (SPO) to attend a 40-minute office detention session that may occur before or after school and must make-up the teacher assignment(s).

Dismissal

Students must complete 40 minutes in order to earn credit for any given class period. Students should report to the attendance office prior to the start of the school day, with a note from their parent/guardian, to request a dismissal. This note should then be presented to the classroom teacher from whose class the student will be dismissed. Class periods missed after dismissal will result in a recorded absence for that period.

Attendance and Participation in Co-curricular Activities

Consistent with school athletic and co-curricular policy, students participating in athletics and/or co-curricular activities must attend school for five consecutive periods in order to be eligible to participate in relevant after school, weekend, or vacation events. Students may appeal emergency cases to the principal who will review each case on an individual basis. Coaches and advisors will be expected to monitor student attendance for eligibility. Any student who participates in a practice, game or co-curricular activity, but is not in school for the required consecutive five periods will be suspended from participation for one week.

Notification

Attendance data will be collected on a period basis. Parents will be notified when their child reaches 3 absences in a quarter via mail/email or by phone. Upon reaching 12 absences in a year (6 in a semester) parents will be contacted and an appointment will be scheduled with a school counselor or administrator.

Appeals

Students who have extended absences and are in violation of the attendance standard may file an appeal with the Dean of Students. An Attendance Review Board (ARB) will review the appeal paperwork, schedule a hearing (if necessary) and render a decision as to whether credit will be granted or denied. Decision of the ARB may be appealed to the building principal.

**Please see PPS Policy STU-6A for the full attendance policy text.

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